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Seeing the Future: How Computer Vision is Reshaping Modern Manufacturing

Introduction


In the midst of the ongoing digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI) through computer vision stands as a pivotal force driving innovation across industries, particularly in manufacturing. As companies strive to gain a competitive edge, the adoption of computer vision emerges as a strategic move within the larger ecosystem of technological disruption. A Deloitte survey reveals that a significant 58% of participants are actively planning to implement computer vision solutions, underscoring the technology's profound relevance and potential benefits for diverse sectors.


From manufacturing units to the concept of smart factories, computer vision transcends traditional boundaries, enabling faster and more efficient workflows coupled with an innovative thought process.  In this article, we will explore how computer vision impact manufacturing.


Seeing the Future: How Computer Vision is Reshaping Modern Manufacturing

Understanding Computer Vision


Computer vision, at its core, is a dynamic field of artificial intelligence that utilizes algorithms and computational power to train machines in interpreting and comprehending visual information. Evolving from simple image recognition to complex tasks like object detection, spatial recognition, and understanding human gestures, computer vision enables machines to accurately identify and classify objects in images and videos, akin to human vision.


This goes beyond mere identification, encompassing the understanding of context, environment, and the ability to make intelligent decisions based on that understanding. In the manufacturing industry, computer vision manifests as a powerful tool, allowing machines to identify defects, manage intricate assembly lines, and uphold safety standards, all achieved autonomously without the need for human intervention.


How Computer Vision Works


Computer vision relies on extensive data analysis to identify distinctions and recognize images. For example, training a computer to recognize car tires involves exposing it to a variety of tire images. Two key technologies, deep learning and convolutional neural networks (CNN), play crucial roles.


In machine learning, algorithms allow the computer to independently understand visual data contexts without explicit programming. A CNN aids this process by breaking down images into pixels with assigned labels, refining predictions through iterations until accurate. Much like human perception, the CNN initially identifies basic shapes and edges, gradually adding details.


Applications of Computer Vision in Manufacturing


Quality Control and Inspection


One of the pivotal roles of computer vision in manufacturing is enhancing quality control and inspection processes. It enables real-time detection of defects and anomalies, ensuring a higher level of product quality and consistency. Computer vision proves invaluable for distinguishing counterfeit goods from authentic ones. Manufacturers can set up autonomous programs to systematically inspect each product on-site. Google Cloud’s Visual Inspection AI stands out for its remarkable accuracy, proving to be 10 times more precise than alternative machines employed for similar tasks. Robust programs, when well-designed, possess the capability to identify multiple defects in a single image without the need for human intervention, thereby enhancing the agility of the production process.


Seeing the Future: How Computer Vision is Reshaping Modern Manufacturing
Google Cloud’s new Visual Inspection AI solution

FIH Mobile's collaboration with Google Cloud illustrates the transformative impact of computer vision on quality control. Leveraging AutoML Vision, FIH Mobile reduced the defect escape rate from 40% to 10%, achieving faster and more accurate defect detection than human inspection. This implementation streamlined inspection time to 0.3 seconds per component, showcasing the efficiency gains of computer vision and marking a significant step toward a reliable and automated manufacturing ecosystem.


Another notable example is BMW's AIQX platform, transforming quality assurance at the iFACTORY. BMW's AIQX ((Artificial Intelligence Quality Next) platform, employing AI and deep-learning-based computer vision, enhances quality control with cameras along the production line. Swift and automated, it surpasses traditional methods. Synchronized with real-time vehicle localization, images are sent for precise analysis in the cloud-based AIQX platform. Utilizing deep-learning algorithms, AIQX continuously improves error detection, potentially speeding up training with synthetically generated image data.


Implemented globally in BMW Group plants, AIQX sets new standards for end-to-end visual quality assurance in vehicle production.


AIQX - BMW's Advancement in Visual Quality Assurance for iFACTORY

Process Optimization


Computer vision is instrumental in monitoring and optimizing production processes. By analysing data in real-time, it helps identify inefficiencies, reduce waste, and enhance overall production efficiency.


Robotics and Automation


The integration of computer vision with robotics is a game-changer in modern manufacturing. This synergy enhances precision and flexibility in manufacturing tasks, leading to improved productivity and reduced manual labour. One example is assembly process automation, where computer vision is employed to detect components, align them accurately on the assembly line, and monitor their progression through the diverse stages of the production process.


An exemplar of this transformation is Airbus' collaboration with Accenture Labs to revolutionize aircraft assembly processes. In response to labour-intensive and error-prone manual tracking, Airbus embraced AI-powered computer vision. The collaboration leveraged the Airbus China Innovation Centre's industry insights and Accenture Labs' AI expertise.



The resulting solution uses video feeds to automatically detect manufacturing issues, streamline assembly steps, and significantly reduce inspection time and labour.

This agile development approach accelerated inspections, optimizing data input and ensuring an error-free manufacturing process. The success of this initiative underscores the powerful impact of computer vision in driving efficiency and accuracy in manufacturing, robotics, and automation.


Safety and Compliance


Ensuring workplace safety is crucial in manufacturing. Computer vision plays a crucial role in creating safer work environments by monitoring and addressing potential hazards. Current manual surveillance processes are error-prone. AI-powered computer vision monitors the entire site, ensuring adherence to safety standards. It also aids in meeting regulatory standards, ensuring compliance across the production line. In case of accidents, it alerts managers and staff, enabling a swift response to halt production and prioritize employee safety.

Seeing the Future: How Computer Vision is Reshaping Modern Manufacturing

Challenges in Applying Computer Vision in Manufacturing


While the benefits of computer vision in manufacturing are substantial, it is not without its challenges.


  1. Technology Lag: Cutting-edge computer vision technologies, like deep learning models and convolutional neural networks (CNNs), are attractive, but real-world systems still rely heavily on traditional techniques. The extensive network of hardware and software systems, along with the complexity of large-scale industrial environments, presents a significant obstacle to the quick adoption of the most recent advances in computer vision

  2. Data Quality Issues: Gathering high-quality data, especially in complex production environments with illumination problems, particularly in those requiring 3-D and reflecting surfaces, where the quality of data obtained becomes a bottleneck.

  3. Data Overload: The proliferation of data-sensing devices leads to an influx of structured and unstructured data, creating difficulties in effective data preparation for computer vision systems.

  4. Labelling Bottleneck: Labelling large amounts of raw data by hand is an expensive task. To fully realise the promise of deep learning-based vision technologies in manufacturing, it is critical to develop efficient algorithms for handling unlabelled data and automatically labelling visual data.

  5. Benchmarking Gap: Even while task-oriented benchmarks like as Common Object in Context (COCO) and others are available, it is still difficult to apply them to particular manufacturing instances. Current standards are specific to activities like as vehicle and pedestrian detection, which creates a gap in evaluating computer vision methods in manufacturing.


To Wrap Things Up


Computer vision is reshaping manufacturing by enhancing quality control, process optimization, robotics, and safety compliance. Collaborations like FIH Mobile with Google Cloud and Airbus with Accenture Labs highlight significant efficiency gains. Despite challenges such as technology lag and data quality issues, the industry is poised for transformative advancements. As manufacturing embraces the potential of computer vision, overcoming these challenges will be vital for unlocking its full impact on efficiency, autonomy, and safety in production processes.


Harness the power of AI Computer Vision to drive manufacturing excellence. Our cutting-edge Computer Vision Services offer tailored solutions that leverage advanced vision systems for quality inspection, defect detection, predictive maintenance, and process optimization. Partner with us today to unlock new levels of efficiency, cost savings, and superior product quality.




 

Kitameraki (www.kitameraki.com) is the trusted partner for comprehensive IT Consulting and IT services in Indonesia. With strong focus on IT Solutions, Web Development, Mobile App Development, and Cloud Solutions, we help businesses navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape. Our expertise extends to Cloud Services, Cloud Migration, Data Analytics, Big Data, Business Intelligence, Data Science, and Cybersecurity.



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